New Publication: Fostering Innovation in Mexico

December 10, 2014

Innovation2Mexicans are creative and entrepreneurial. Some of the world’s most notable and widely-used technologies have their roots in Mexico. Mexican chemist, Luis Miramontes, for instance, co-invented the progestin used in the first contraceptive pills. Mexican engineer, Guillermo González Camarena received the world’s first patent for the color television. And Mexican writer, Victor Celorio invented InstaBook, the technology that produces a perfect-bound book in one step and just two minutes. Mexico has a fine tradition of science and innovation, and President Enrique Peña Nieto is right to say, “Mexico should recognize, value, and take advantage of the great value of our human resources.” It is the Mexican entrepreneur that has been and will continue to be the strength of the nation’s economy and the driver of innovation.

To increase understanding of the benefits and challenges of innovation and to aid in the development of policy recommendations that encourage innovation in Mexico, the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars held a High-Level Innovation Forum for Policymakers in November 2013. The forum covered several topics related to innovation, including: entrepreneurship, financing innovative businesses, regulation, spillovers between universities and companies and the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Questions examined at the forum included: How has the global economy changed, and what does it mean for innovation? How should we be thinking about innovation? What conditions are necessary for innovation to thrive? How can we attract greater investment for innovation activities? What types of government policies and regulations can strengthen innovation? How can we better integrate science and technology into practical applications? What are the barriers to innovation, and how can we overcome them? This publication summarizes the main themes of the conference and highlights some lessons learned. The purpose of this paper is to aid in ongoing dialogue, the next stage of which will take place in Washington, DC in November, 2014 (The publication is available both in English and Spanish).

Read the publication here.


Innovation in Mexico: Can Media Lab S21 Expand Spanish Language Communication?

December 8, 2014

12/4/14 Wilson Center CONTEXT

The MIT Media Lab has set the standard for creating “disruptive technologies” that lead to innovation. A new start up project, Mexico Media Lab S21, is attempting to achieve similar success in the areas of communication, technology, and innovation. Its founder, a former journalist, sees an opportunity to increase Spanish language content on the web, not only in Mexico, but globally as well.

Click here to watch the video.

Read the Mexico Institute‘s newest publication Fostering Innovation in Mexico.

Guests
Nicholas Negroponte is founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association. He was co-founder and director of the MIT Media Lab, and the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology. A graduate of MIT, Negroponte was a pioneer in the field of computer-aided design, and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1966. Conceived in 1980, the Media Lab opened its doors in 1985. He is also author of the 1995 best seller, Being Digital, which has been translated into more than 40 languages. In the private sector, Negroponte serves on the board of directors for Motorola, Inc. and as general partner in a venture capital firm specializing in digital technologies for information and entertainment. He has provided start-up funds for more than 40 companies, including Wired magazine.

Rossana Fuentes-Berain is the founder of Start Up Mexico Media Lab S21, a media lab dedicated to studying communication among those that will define the 21st century. Prior to her current role, which she began in September 2014, she was the editorial vice president of Grupo Expansión. Before becoming vice president, Fuentes-Berain worked as the director of the opinion section in El Universal, the assistant director for research and special affairs in the newspaper Reforma, and the first female editor of the business section in El Financiero. She has coauthored a number of books and has written for international newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. Fuentes-Berain has worked in television as a host for Televisa’s Contrapunto and as a professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). Additionally, she was a founder and member of the Editorial Board of Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (formerly known as Foreign Affairs en español).


Slim ventures further into digital content

July 9, 2013

man with phoneFinancial Times, 7/9/2013

It’s possible that Carlos Slim has never downloaded an application into his mobile phone. He’s not known for his information technology prowess – he doesn’t even have a computer in his office. What he is known for is his business acumen. His latest venture into music recognition app Shazam for $40m, through his multinational telecommunication company, América Móvil, is a case in point.

The Mexican magnate’s 10.8% stake in the London-based company will allow him to offer the 262m users of his Latin American telecommunications network the ability to identify songs, videos or television programmes. The popular music recognition app will be pre-installed on mobile phones that América Móvil sells in countries such as México, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.

Read more…


Why Mexico Will Be Latin America’s Tech Leader

June 25, 2013

typing on computer keyboardABC News/Univision, 6/25/2013

A global race is on to create the next Silicon Valley, and Latin America is rapidly embracing technology and innovation as it vies to be the epicenter of the next tech boom. The stakes aren’t trivial. It’s clear that the countries that can develop new ideas and technology will be the economic winners of the 21st century. That’s why the Brazilian government, for instance, recently launched Startup Brazil, a business accelerator that aims to attract local and foreign talent to build tech companies in Brazil.

The program, which will provide entrepreneurs with up to $100,000 in grant money as well as office space and access to investors, is modeled after Startup Chile, the pioneering business accelerator launched by the Chilean government a few years ago. Chile was the first Latin American country to focus on attracting startups and developing an ecosystem of innovators. Other countries in the region, like Colombia and Peru, have followed their lead.

Read more…


How immigration reform might also spur young Americans to study math, science

June 10, 2013

shutterstock_49761472The Christian Science Monitor, 6/8/2013

Tucked into immigration reform legislation in both chambers of Congress are little-noticed measures that could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into cultivating a new generation of American students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM). Such a move could help shore up what much of corporate America and many lawmakers see as a glaring deficiency in the nation’s long-term economic competitiveness.

The bills offer at least $200 million per year (but perhaps as much as $700 million, advocates say) by channeling fees from high-skilled visas into investments in STEM education and job training. Specifically, legislators would increase the fee that employers pay to sponsor high-skilled temporary workers (visas known as H-1Bs) and direct $1,000 of that bump toward a special “STEM fund.” The fund would also be supported by an additional $1,000 cost to employers looking to sponsor H-1B workers for permanent residence in the United States.

Read more…


Op-ed: Immigration Reform and the Skills Gap

June 7, 2013

shutterstock_49761472By Rosario Marin, The Wall Street Journal, 6/6/2013

I have lived the American dream, which began when I was born in Mexico. My family and I immigrated to the U.S. on my father’s work visa when I was 14 years old, and I later served as the 41st treasurer of the United States—the only treasurer born outside of the U.S. Since its founding, America has grown stronger, and its companies more competitive, by attracting the best and brightest from around the world. So it’s a relief to see Congress finally beginning to act on immigration reform.

The key issue is improving mechanisms for legal immigration by people who will contribute to the nation’s prosperity. Unfortunately, the compromise bill that emerged from the Judiciary Committee that the Senate intends to take up next week contains provisions that would turn away some of the most highly educated people. Barring them threatens our future economic growth. The current skilled-labor shortage—particularly for workers in science, technology, engineering and math occupations—puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage. By 2020, an estimated 1.5 million jobs will go unfilled, according to McKinsey & Co. Until America can educate enough graduates in these fields to meet the demand, legal immigration is the only option to find the necessary talent.

Read more…


#DidYouKnow – Immigrants & Entrepreneurship

June 4, 2013

Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Click here to learn more…


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